Here’s a lesson: Not all comfort food is happy when made healthy. But it doesn’t always seem to mind picking up the pace.
Bangers and mash, a popular British dish of sausages and peppers served over mashed potatoes, seemed an obvious choice for an easy makeover to make it both faster and healthier.
To cut the time and fat, precooked turkey sausages braised in stout and thyme would stand in for pork links. And to get some colorful vegetables in the meal, sweet potatoes spiked with a bit of brown sugar would replace the more traditional white ones.
Sadly, it tasted terrible. But it least it didn’t take too long to make.
The compromise: The precooked turkey sausages were a keeper. They come in a variety of flavors, and anything neutral or mildly savory works well. Skip anything too sweet or spicy, as these flavors compete too much with the gravy.
The stout didn’t work at all. Amber ale tasted much better and created a delicious gravy to drizzle over everything.
And the thyme also was all wrong. Smoked paprika was far more agreeable.
There was nothing worth saving from the sweet potatoes. Instead, I admitted regular potatoes were a whole lot better, and even threw in a bit of whole milk and sour cream despite the additional calories and fat.
For more color, the green bell peppers can be varied with yellow, orange or red varieties.
If you don’t like cooking with alcohol, try using an equal amount of apple cider. This will produce a sweeter gravy (and you may need to adjust salt and pepper accordingly), but it will be delicious.
2pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered
2tablespoons olive oil
1large yellow onion, thinly sliced
2green bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
8precooked turkey sausages
1teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
112-ounce bottle amber beer
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4cup whole milk
1teaspoon corn starch
Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and fill with enough cold water to cover by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until tender when pierced with a fork, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over high heat combine the olive oil, onion, green peppers, sausages, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Saute until onions are tender, about 6 minutes.
Add the beer and simmer until reduced by half, about 4 minutes.
When the potatoes are done, drain and return to the pot. Add sour cream, whole milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Mash until mostly smooth. Cover and set aside.
In a small glass, combine the corn starch with 2 tablespoons cold water. Add this to the skillet with the sausages and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Continue cooking and stirring for an additional minute.
To serve, mound mashed potatoes on each plate, then top with two sausages and spoon onions, peppers and sauce over.
Makes 4 servings.